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Manatee schools calendar for 2011-2012 proposes longer Thanksgiving break

MANATEE -- Almost every year after the school district’s three-day Thanksgiving break, attendance among staff and students drops, says Mike Wilder, the district’s coordinator of school leadership.

While typically only about 6 percent of the school community doesn’t show up, about 9 percent of students and staff are absent for the two days following Thanksgiving, Wilder says. Most often, it’s because of family vacations that can’t be cut short.

But next school year, the district hopes to change that pattern: it will be giving schools a full five days off for the Thanksgiving break rather than just three. The district will make up for the extra days throughout the rest of the year.

The change is the result of recommendations from a committee that examines the school calendar annually, Wilder says. It will bring Manatee County in line with five of the eight school districts located around it, which also provide five rather than three days for the turkey day break.

The 2012-2013 school year also will feature a winter break that starts just four days before Christmas and ends Jan. 7. This year’s winter break, by contrast, begins Dec. 16 and ends Jan. 2.

Parents, teachers and other interested parties will have until Jan. 13 to provide feedback on the proposed calendar. The board will vote on the calendar at its Jan. 23 meeting. Input can be provided to the district by emailing Wilder at or calling him at 941-708-8770, ext. 2247.